Rhode Island Pride Steps Off

The LGBT community's signature event is the Illuminated Pride Parade.
gay pride
Actor Joe Wilson Jr. on a float at Pride 2016. Photograph by Cat Laine.

Providence will be awash with rainbows on June 17 as the forty-first annual Rhode Island PrideFest and New England’s only Illuminated Parade take over the streets. More than 75,000 people from all over the country participate, along with more than 200 businesses and organizations, making it one of the largest events held in Providence. PrideFest is stationed on South Water Street from noon until 7 p.m. with a main stage of live entertainment, a beer, wine and spirits garden and a Kids Zone, ending with a rally for the community, allies and friends. The parade kicks off at 8:30 p.m. with a diverse mix of businesses, religious groups, politicians and nonprofit organizations that participate as well as the Extraordinary Rendition Band, Providence Gay Men’s Chorus and more. Visitors can watch the parade along Washington, Empire and Weybosset streets with a main gathering point by the Providence Performing Arts Center. “Spectators see a mix of festive floats bedazzled with lights and elaborate costumes in this energized celebration,” says Alexis Gorriaran, past president of Pride RI and PrideFest volunteer. “As one of the original founders and producers of the illuminated parade, it’s always a fun surprise to see the creative use of illumination by some of the floats and marching groups.” prideri.com

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